Last week I told my students I was retiring. Some of the responses were pretty amusing:
“Why are you retiring?” asked one second grader.
“Because she’s old,” explained the next.
A third grader asked “What will you do when you retire?”
“She’ll take a nap.” answered his friend.
“Where will you go?” asked one very concerned first grader.
“She’ll go home.” explained a classmate.
“Home?” replied the first in a puzzled tone that clearly indicated what so many children think… that we teachers live at school. (which in a way we do, but that’s another story)
One first grader keeps asking clarifying questions whenever I see him in the hall.
“Are you going on vacation?”
“Not exactly,” I answer.
The next day, “Do you have another job?”
“Yes, I’ll teach teachers!”
The following day, “Where will you work?”
“Lots of places,” I reply, unsure how to explain educational consulting to him.
“Will you still teach me?” he asked on Friday.
“No, honey.” I replied as my heart gave a squeeze of regret.
Children’s responses to my announcement have ranged widely from little first graders who clearly had no idea what I was talking about to 3rd graders who were visibly upset, begged me to stay and then asked plaintively, “Who will take care of us!?”
My heart just went out to them. One of the delights of working as an intervention teacher in the last decade is I’m lucky enough to work with many of the same children year after year. I
watch them grow from little first graders who don’t know all their letter sounds to poised fifth graders who win spelling bees and science fair contests. It’s been a privilege to have a 5 year relationship with a group of children who I could help guide, and for whom I could advocate, throughout their elementary years.
In the days since my announcement, several students have dropped by my room to check on me, give me a hug, tell me they’ll miss me. It’s been really sweet. I’ll miss each of them too.